NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 18 April 2011


image All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 6 of Increment 27.

Upon wake-up, FE-2 Borisenko performed the regular daily check of the aerosol filters at the Russian Elektron O2 (oxygen) generator. [Maxim Suraev installed these filters on 10/19/09 in gaps between the BZh Liquid Unit and the oxygen outlet pipe (filter FA-K) plus hydrogen outlet pipe (filter FA-V). Andrey will inspect the filters again before bedtime tonight, currently a daily requirement per plan, with photographs to be taken if the filter packing is discolored.]

CDR Kondratyev's morning inspection today included the weekly checkup behind ASU/toilet panel 139 in the SM (Service Module) on a fluid connector (MNR-NS) of the SM-U urine collection system, looking for potential moisture.

FE-6 Coleman undertook her 18th weekly U.S. "Bisphosphonates" biomedical countermeasures experiment, ingesting an Alendronate pill before breakfast. The required ~10h fast period started for her last night. [The Bisphosphonates study should determine whether antiresorptive agents (that help reduce bone loss) in conjunction with the routine in-flight exercise program will protect ISS crewmembers from the regional decreases in bone mineral density documented on previous ISS missions. Two dosing regimens are being tested: (1) an oral dose of 70 mg of Alendronate taken weekly starting 3 weeks prior to flight and then throughout the flight and (2) an intravenous (IV) dose of 4 mg Zoledronic Acid, administered just once approximately 45 days before flight. The rationale for including both Alendronate and Zoledronic Acid is that two dosing options will maximize crew participation, increase the countermeasure options available to flight surgeons, increase scientific opportunities, and minimize the effects of operational and logistical constraints. The primary measurement objective is to obtain preflight and postflight QCT (Quantitative Computed Tomography) scans of the hip. The QCT scans will provide volumetric bone density information of both cortical and trabecular (spongy) bone regions of the hip.]

Kondratyev & Borisenko, as another handover activity, completed the periodic maintenance of the active Russian BMP Harmful Impurities Removal System, starting the "bake-out" cycle to vacuum on absorbent bed #1 of the regenerable dual-channel filtration system. The process will be terminated later tonight (~3:30pm EDT) before sleeptime by Dmitri & Alex Samokutyayev, followed tomorrow by Bed #2 regeneration. [Regeneration of each of the two cartridges takes about 12 hours and is conducted only during crew awake periods. The BMP's regeneration cycle is normally done every 20 days. (Last time done: 3/28-3/29.]

FE-1 Samokutyayev set up and initiated his 3rd session of the standard 24-hour ECG (electrocardiograph) recording under the Russian MedOps PZE MO-2 protocol. [After the ECG recording and BP (blood pressure) measurements with the Kardiomed system, Sasha doffed the five-electrode Holter harness that read his dynamic (in motion) heart function from two leads over the past 24 hours, recording data on the "Kardioregistrator 90205" unit. The examination results were then downloaded from the Holter ECG device to the RSE-Med laptop, controlled by the Kardiomed application. Later, the data were downlinked as a compressed .zip-file via OCA.]

For FE-6 Coleman the day began with the blood draw for the CSA (Canadian Space Agency) Vascular Blood Collection protocol, her 2nd time, assisted by Paolo Nespoli as CMO (Crew Medical Officer). Cady then set up the RC (Refrigerated Centrifuge) for spinning the coagulated samples prior to stowing them in the MELFI-1 (Minus Eighty Laboratory Freezer for ISS 1), after recording the five blood tube bar codes. [Led by the Canadian University of Waterloo's Dr. Richard Hughson, VASCULAR is studying the long-term effects of weightlessness on the cardiovascular system. Previous medical tests have shown that astronauts who live and work in space for long periods of time experience changes in their blood vessels that are like the aging on Earth. But in space these changes happen in months instead of years and decades. The blood vessels become stiffer and lose their elasticity. This can change blood pressure and affect blood flow to vital organs such as the brain and kidney. Six international astronauts are taking part in VASCULAR, each staying about 6 months on the station. Their blood samples will be returned to Dr. Hughson's laboratory for measurements of unique protein and hormone markers that could accelerate vascular aging. The results of VASCULAR will offer a better understanding of the inner mechanisms of cardiovascular changes during long-duration space missions. The findings can also help people who suffer from premature cardiovascular aging right now back home on Earth.]

FE-5 Nespoli performed a "ghost" load on a T61p laptop for the new ISSAC (ISS Agricultural Camera), a successor of the earlier AgCam, and replaced old "AgCam" labels with ISSAC labels. [ISSAC will be operational along with EarthKAM, both to conduct simultaneous but independent operations in the relatively new WORF (Window Observation Research Facility) rack in the Lab. AgCam was a multi-spectral camera for taking images, in visible and infrared light, of vegetated areas on the Earth, principally of growing crops, rangeland, grasslands, forests, and wetlands in the northern Great Plains and Rocky Mountain regions of the United States. It was found to have operational problems and was discontinued in 2009.]

In preparation for Progress M-10M/42P docking at DC1 nadir on 4/29, Kondratyev & Samokutyayev conducted the standard 40-min. vehicle-to-vehicle TORU test between the SM and the DC1-docked Progress M-09M/41P, closely monitored by ground personnel on DO13 (Daily Orbit 13, 7:32am-7:48am EDT). Progress thrusters (DPO) were inhibited and not involved. [TORU lets an SM-based crewmember perform the approach & docking of automated Progress vehicles manually in case of failure of the KURS radio-based autopilot.]

Borisenko performed the periodic refresh of the IUS AntiVirus program on the Russian VKS auxiliary (non-network) laptops RSS1, RSS2 & RSK2 which are not loaded from the ground, from a special software program working with Norton AV on the FS (File Server) laptop. [After first scanning the FS laptop, the virus database was transferred by flash-card to the other computers, which were then scanned one by one. Background: Regularly on Mondays, automatic virus definition file updates are verified on the RSS2, RSS1, RSK1-T61p & RSK2 laptops, while the non-networked laptops RSE-Med & RSE1 are manually updated. Antivirus scans are then started & monitored on RSS2 & RSE-Med. Results of the scans on RSS1, RSK1-T61p, RSK2 & RSE1 are verified on Tuesdays. Russian network laptops have software installed for automatic anti-virus update; fresh data is copied on RSK1-T61p & RRSK2 every time a computer is rebooted with a special login, and on RSS1 once daily. On Russian non-network laptops antivirus definition file update is done by the crew once every two weeks on Monday.]

Preparatory of another standard Shuttle RPM (R-bar Pitch Maneuver) practice session, Kondratyev, Nespoli and Coleman each reviewed an OBT (Onboard Training) refresher video for the drill. [Dmitri & Paolo reviewed the video for the 800mm lens camera, Cady the 400mm video. The RPM drill prepares crewmembers for the bottom-side mapping of the Orbiter at the arrival of the next Shuttle (STS-134/Endeavour/ULF6, to be launched 4/29. During the RPM at ~600 ft from the station, the "shooters" have only ~90 seconds for taking high-resolution digital photographs of all tile areas and door seals on Discovery, to be downlinked for launch debris assessment. Thus, time available for the shooting will be very limited, requiring great coordination between the two headset-equipped photographers and the Shuttle pilot.]

Cady initiated another sampling run with the EHS GC/DMS (Environmental Health Systems Gas Chromatograph / Differential Mobility Spectrometer) and deactivated the system ~5 hrs later. [This was the 31st session with the replaced GC/DMS unit #1004, after the previous instrument (#1002) was used for approximately 7 runs. Also known as AQM (Air Quality Monitor), the system is controlled with "Sionex" expert software from the SSC (Station Support Computer)-12 laptop (due to a software glitch, the software needs to be opened, closed, and then reopened in order to ensure good communication between GC/DMS and SSC-12). The AQM demonstrates COTS (Commercial Off-the-Shelf) technology for identifying volatile organic compounds, similar to the VOA (Volatile Organics Analyzer). This evaluation will continue over the course of several months as it helps to eventually certify the GC/DMS as nominal CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) hardware],

In the Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module), FE-6 also checked up on the current configuration of the SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) payload beacons which had been deployed in Kibo at an earlier test session. Cady reinstalled & restored all beacons to their nominal operational condition and reported, "SPHERES is ready for business!". [SPHERES was operated the last time by Scott Kelly in December 2010 with students at the Zero Robotics competition. The SPHERES experiment is a test bed for the development and testing of formation flying and other multi-spacecraft control algorithms. Sessions use several satellites and beacons on mounts, with CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) tanks and battery packs, to experiment with docking, formation flight, and reconfigurations. In addition, the sessions add a wide range of control algorithms for maneuvers previously demonstrated using basic control laws. Modern robust control techniques are combined with path planning and formation flight algorithms to improve the performance of the system. The sessions also obtain data for control reconfiguration after satellites dock (and their mass properties change). Per applicable Flight Rule, SPHERES operations have no CO2 output constraints if the CDRA (CO2 Removal Assembly) is operating in dual-bed or single-bed mode.]

Dmitri & Alexandr continued the extended leak integrity checking of the spare BZh Liquid Unit (#056) for the Elektron O2 generator, repressed on 3/18/11 with nitrogen (N2) to 1 atm (1 kg/cm2), by conducting the usual pressure check and recharging it with N2 from BPA-1M Nitrogen Purge Unit as required to verify the unit's hermeticity. [Objective of the monthly checkout of the only remaining spare BZh, which has been in stowage since March 2007, is to check for leakage and good water passage through the feed line inside of the BZh (from ZL1 connector to the buffer tank) and to check the response of the Electronics Unit's micro switches (signaling "Buffer Tank is Empty" & "Buffer Tank is Full". During Elektron operation, the inert gas locked up in the BZh has the purpose to prevent dangerous O2/H2 mixing. A leaking BZh cannot be used. It is somewhat questionable if BZh #056 is fully functional since it has parts that were scavenged from previously failed Elektron Liquid Units, but a new BZh will be delivered on the next Progress, 42P, on 4/29.]

In the MRM2 Poisk module, Borisenko configured the Russian STTS communications system for crew presence.

With Sasha taking documentary photography, Andrey then conducted an active session for the Russian experiment KPT-10 "Kulonovskiy Kristall" (Coulomb Crystal) in MRM2, followed by downlinking the video footage obtained with two SONY HVR-Z1J camcorders, in two parts sequenced to RGS (Russian Groundsite) passes (11:55am & 1:30pm). [KPT-10 studies dynamic and structural characteristics of the Coulomb systems formed by charged dispersed diamagnetic macroparticles in the magnetic trap, investigating the following processes onboard the ISS RS (Russian Segment): condensed dust media, Coulomb crystals, and formation of Coulomb liquids due to charged macroparticles. Coulomb systems are structures following Coulomb's Law, a law of physics describing the electrostatic interaction between electrically charged particles. It was essential to the development of the theory of electromagnetism.]

FE-2 also supported the ground-commanded reactivation of the Elektron oxygen generator by monitoring the external temperature of its BD secondary purification unit for the first 10 minutes of operations to ensure that there was no overheating.

On the CIR (Combustion Integrated Rack) in the US Lab, Paolo Nespoli removed the 4 alignment guides to allow PaRIS (Passive Rack Isolation System) to be activated before begin of CIR operations requiring a microgravity environment. [Of 34 total research racks on the ISS (not counting Russian experiment sites), 13 are in the US Lab, 11 in JAXA's Kibo JPM (JEM Pressurized Module) and 10 in ESA's COL (Columbus Orbital Laboratory). 5 racks each of JPM and COL are NASA-shared.]

Afterwards, Paolo had 3.5 hrs set aside for cargo transfer operations from the ATV2 "Johannes Kepler" to the ISS. Ron Garan joined in for ~1h50m, and Cady contributed another 1h30m to the cargo ops. [This week and the next will feature over 30 hrs of ATV ops. There will also be 32 hrs nominal ATV stowage activities on the ULF6 timeline (plus more for 1-2 day mission extension). ATV ops will be finished up after ULF6.]

Cady & Paolo each completed their 3rd onboard sessions with the MedOps experiment WinSCAT (Spaceflight Cognitive Assessment Tool for Windows), logging in on the MEC (Medical Equipment Computer) laptop and going through the psychological evaluation exercise on the PC-based WinSCAT application. [WinSCAT is a monthly time-constrained questionnaire test of cognitive abilities, routinely performed by astronauts aboard the ISS every 30 days before or after the PHS (periodic health status) test or on special CDR's, crewmembers or flight surgeons request. The test uses cognitive subtests that measure sustained concentration, verbal working memory, attention, short-term memory, spatial processing, and math skills. The five cognitive subtests are Coding Memory - Learning, Continuous Processing Task (CPT), Match to Sample, Mathematics, and Coding Delayed Recall. These WinSCAT subtests are the same as those used during NASA's long-duration bed rest studies.]

Samokutyayev collected & downloaded the periodic sensor readings of the Russian "Pille-MKS" (MKS = ISS) radiation dosimetry experiment which has 11 sensors placed at various locations in the Russian Segment (DC1, SM starboard & port cabin windows, ASU toilet facility, control panel, MRM2, etc.), plus one, the "duty" dosimeter, in the Reader. Today's readings were taken from all 11 deployed dosimeters, and the memory card with the data was added to the items to be returned on 25S. [The dosimeters take their readings automatically every 90 minutes.]

Borisenko performed the periodic calibration & adjustment test of the O2 sensor of the SM SOGS (Pressure Control & Atmospheric Monitoring System) IK0501 gas analyzer (GA), using the BKGA/Gas Analyzer Calibration Assembly and IGZ/Analyzer Status Indicator (constituent meter), supported by ground specialist tagup. [IK0501 is an automated system for measuring CO2, O2, and H2O in the air as well as the flow rate of the gas being analyzed.]

The Soyuz 26S crew, Samokutyayev, Garan & Borisenko, worked their way through the periodic CHeCS (Crew Health Care Systems) Medical Contingency OBT (Onboard Training) drill, taking one hour today. [This on-board training/drill gives crewmembers the opportunity to work as a team in resolving a simulated medical emergency onboard ISS. This training refreshes their memory of the on-orbit stowage and deployment locations, equipment use, and procedures. Objective is to practice crew communications & coordination necessary to perform medical emergency procedures using such equipment as the ACLS, ALSP (Advanced Life Support Pack) & AED (Automated External Defibrillator), performing hardware deployment & rescuer positioning, and conducting simulations of CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), deployment & use of the CMRS (Crew Medical Restraint System), reviewing prevention of oxygen "bubble" build-up when using the RSP (Respiratory Support Pack), etc.]

Andrey conducted the routine daily servicing of the SOZh system (Environment Control & Life Support System, ECLSS) in the SM. [Regular daily SOZh maintenance consists, among else, of checking the ASU toilet facilities, replacement of the KTO & KBO solid waste containers, replacement of EDV-SV waste water and EDV-U urine containers and filling EDV-SV, KOV (for Elektron), EDV-ZV & EDV on RP flow regulator.]

Dima meanwhile took care of the daily IMS (Inventory Management System) maintenance, updating/editing its standard "delta file" including stowage locations, for the regular weekly automated export/import to its three databases on the ground (Houston, Moscow, Baikonur).

The CDR had another 3.5 hrs for stowing disposal hardware in the cargo ship-turned-trash can Progress M-09M/41P (#409), bar-coding stowage updates in the IMS database. FE-1 joined in for ~50 min.

Tonight before sleeptime, Dmitri will initiate battery charging for the Russian GFI-8 "Uragan" (hurricane) earth-imaging program with FSS science hardware. [The FSS system consists of an image recording module with lens and a spectroradiometer module with an electronics module. FSS includes the ME Electronics Module & MRI Image Recording Module.]

Ron Garan spent ~1 hr with Cady in another handover session, the 5th, during which Cady familiarized her compatriot with USOS (US Segment) activities.

The three newcomers, Sasha, Andrey & Ron, again had their free time for general orientation (adaptation, station familiarization & acclimatization) as is standard daily rule for fresh crewmembers for the first two weeks after starting residence, if they choose to take it.

At ~4:20am EDT, the three Russian crewmembers and Paolo Nespoli supported a Russian PAO TV event, downlinking messages of greetings to the 24th Book Fair in Turin, Italy. [In Italy, the year 2011 is declared the Year of Russian Culture and Language, and in Russia, 2011 is the Year of Italian Culture and Language. The 24th Turin Book Fair will be held from 5/12-5/16. Russia is participating in this Fair as a Guest of Honor. One of the central exhibits at Russia's national display will be dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the manned space era.]

At ~5:45am, Coleman powered up the SM's amateur radio equipment (Kenwood VHF transceiver with manual frequency selection, headset, & power supply) for a ham radio session, at 5:50am, with participants at the Toyota Children's Scientific Expedition in Toyota, Aichi, Japan.

At ~8:10am, Nespoli used the amateur radio equipment for a ham radio session with students at the Primary School "Dante Alighieri" De Neuquen, Neuquen - Patagonia, Argentina.

The crew worked out with their regular 2-hr physical exercise on the CEVIS cycle ergometer with vibration isolation (FE-3), TVIS treadmill (CDR, FE-1, FE-2), ARED advanced resistive exercise device (CDR, FE-3, FE-5, FE-6), T2/COLBERT advanced treadmill (FE-5, FE-6) and VELO ergometer bike with load trainer (FE-1, FE-2).

Progress #409 Prop Supply Line Purges: At ~7:35am EDT, FE-3 Garan closed the protective shutters of the Lab, Node-3/Cupola & JPM science windows to prevent their contamination with thruster effluents, before TsUP/Moscow commanded the fuel (ZUG) supply line purge (12:19pm) and the oxidizer (ZUO) supply line purge (1:54pm) of Progress M-09M/41P at the DC1 in preparation for its undocking next Friday (4/22; 7:41am). The shutters were cleared for reopening several orbits later, to let the vent cloud disperse in the space vacuum. [ISS attitude control authority was handed over to Russian MCS (Motion Control System) thrusters at 11:50am to keep the attitude stable during the venting, and was returned to US momentum management at ~2:25pm.]

No CEO (Crew Earth Observation) targets uplinked for today.

ISS Orbit (as of this morning, 7:57am EDT [= epoch])
Mean altitude - 348.5 km
Apogee height - 350.6 km
Perigee height - 346.5 km
Period -- 91.51 min.
Inclination (to Equator) -- 51.64 deg
Eccentricity -- 0.0003044
Solar Beta Angle -- 61.6 deg (magnitude decreasing)
Orbits per 24-hr. day -- 15.74
Mean altitude loss in the last 24 hours -- 182 m
Revolutions since FGB/Zarya launch (Nov. 98) - 71,150

Significant Events Ahead (all dates Eastern Time and subject to change):
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
04/22/11 -- Progress M-09M/41P undock ~7:41am EDT
04/26/11 -- Progress M-09M/41P deorbit ~9:15am
04/27/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P launch
04/29/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P docking (DC-1 nadir)
04/29/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour launch ULF6 (ELC-3, AMS) ~3:47:49pm EDT
05/01/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour docking ~1:31pm
05/11/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour undocking ~6:23am
05/13/11 -- STS-134/Endeavour landing (KSC) ~9:28am
05/16/11 - Soyuz TMA-20/25S undock/landing (End of Increment 27)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S launch - M. Fossum (CDR-29)/S. Furukawa/S. Volkov
06/01/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S docking (MRM1)
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
06/xx/11 -- ATV-2 "Johannes Kepler" undock (SM aft)
06/21/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P launch
06/23/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P docking (SM aft)
06/28/11 -- STS-135/Atlantis launch ULF7 (MPLM) ~3:30pm EDT NET
06/30/11 -- STS-135/Atlantis docking ULF7 (MPLM) NET
07/27/11 - Russian EVA #29
08/29/11 -- Progress M-11M/43P undocking
08/30/11 -- Progress M-12M/44P launch
09/01/11 -- Progress M-12M/44P docking (SM aft)
09/16/11 - Soyuz TMA-21/26S undock/landing (End of Increment 28)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/28S launch - D.Burbank (CDR-30)/A.Shkaplerov/A.Ivanishin
10/02/11 - Soyuz TMA-03M/28S docking (MRM2)
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
10/25/11 -- Progress M-10M/42P undocking
10/26/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P launch
10/28/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P docking (DC-1)
11/16/11 -- Soyuz TMA-02M/27S undock/landing (End of Increment 29)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/30/11 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S launch - O.Kononenko (CDR-31)/A.Kuipers/D.Pettit
12/02/11 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S docking (MRM1)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
12/26/11 -- Progress M-13M/45P undock
12/27/11 -- Progress M-14M/46P launch
12/29/11 -- Progress M-14M/46P docking (DC-1)
02/29/12 -- ATV3 launch readiness
03/05/12 -- Progress M-12M/44P undock
03/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-03M/28S undock/landing (End of Increment 30)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/30/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S launch - G.Padalka (CDR-32)/J.Acaba/K.Volkov
04/01/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S docking (MRM2)
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
05/05/12 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) w/ERA - launch on Proton (under review)
05/06/12 -- Progress M-14M/46P undock
05/07/12 -- 3R Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) - docking (under review)
05/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-04M/29S undock/landing (End of Increment 31)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/29/12 - Soyuz TMA-06M/31S launch - S.Williams (CDR-33)/Y.Malenchenko/A.Hoshide
05/31/12 - Soyuz TMA-06M/31S docking
--------------Six-crew operations----------------
09/18/12 -- Soyuz TMA-05M/30S undock/landing (End of Increment 32)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
10/02/12 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/32S launch - K.Ford (CDR-34)/O.Novitskiy/E.Tarelkin
10/04/12 - Soyuz TMA-07M/32S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/16/12 -- Soyuz TMA-06M/31S undock/landing (End of Increment 33)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/30/12 -- Soyuz TMA-08M/33S launch - C.Hadfield (CDR-35)/T.Mashburn/R.Romanenko
12/02/12 - Soyuz TMA-08M/33S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/13 -- Soyuz TMA-07M/32S undock/landing (End of Increment 34)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
03/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-09M/34S launch - P.Vinogradov (CDR-36)/C.Cassidy/A.Misurkin
03/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-09M/34S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
05/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-08M/33S undock/landing (End of Increment 35)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
05/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-10M/35S launch - M.Suraev (CDR-37)/K.Nyberg/L.Parmitano
05/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-10M/35S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
09/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-09M/34S undock/landing (End of Increment 36)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
09/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-11M/36S launch - M.Hopkins/TBD (CDR-38)/TBD
09/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-11M/36S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
11/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-10M/35S undock/landing (End of Increment 37)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------
11/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-12M/37S launch - K.Wakata (CDR-39)/R.Mastracchio/TBD
11/xx/13 - Soyuz TMA-12M/37S docking
--------------Six-crew operations-------------
03/xx/14 - Soyuz TMA-11M/36S undock/landing (End of Increment 38)
--------------Three-crew operations-------------

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